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Nicholas Kaldor’s Insights into the Applied Economics of Growth (or Why I Became a Kaldorian)


  • Anthony Thirlwall

    (Department of Economics, Keynes College, University of Kent)


We are celebrating today the life and work of Nicholas Kaldor on the thirtieth anniversary of his death on 30th September 1986. Kaldor was one of the most distinguished Hungarian economists of the twentieth century who ought to have more recognition in his native country, even though most of his academic life was spent in the United Kingdom. I knew Kaldor well in the last years of his life between 1979 and 1986. In the mide-1970s, I had already decided that I would write an intellectual biography of him – I found him such an original and interesting economist, and decided there was a Kaldorian economics to be written. In 1979, I spent a sabbatical term in King’s College, Cambridge. I attended Kaldor’s lectures; I talked to him, and finished reading the whole of his published work – over 250 articles and books. Then in the academic year 1985-86, I spent a whole year in Cambridge, working in his house in Adams Road to sort out his papers; read his correspondence with other economists, and to interview him extensively about his ideas and events of long ago. My biography of him was published in 1987 (Thirlwall, 1987). When Kaldor died, undoubtedly economics lost one of its most original and controversial economists of the twentieth century. We are all mortal, of course, but not many live the rich intellectual and political life that Kaldor enjoyed. Below, I give some brief biographical details, and highlights in Kaldor’s academic and political life.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony Thirlwall, 2017. "Nicholas Kaldor’s Insights into the Applied Economics of Growth (or Why I Became a Kaldorian)," a/ Working Papers Series 1701, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
  • Handle: RePEc:ais:wpaper:1701

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. P. Thirlwall, 2015. "Testing Kaldor’s Growth Laws across the Countries of Africa," Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought, in: Essays on Keynesian and Kaldorian Economics, chapter 15, pages 339-351, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. A. P. Thirlwall, 2015. "A Model of Regional Growth Rate Differences on Kaldorian Lines," Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought, in: Essays on Keynesian and Kaldorian Economics, chapter 12, pages 286-301, Palgrave Macmillan.
    3. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1970. "The Case for Regional Policies," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 17(3), pages 337-348, November.
    4. Feder, Gershon, 1983. "On exports and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-2), pages 59-73.
    5. Therese Jefferson & John King, 2009. "Nicholas Kaldor and Critical Realism," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 463-480.
    6. A. P. Thirlwall, 2015. "A General Model of Growth and Development on Kaldorian Lines," Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought, in: Essays on Keynesian and Kaldorian Economics, chapter 13, pages 302-325, Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. A. P. Thirlwall, 2007. "Regional Problems are "Balance-of-Payments" Problems," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(sup1), pages 89-95.
    8. Young, Allyn A., 1928. "Increasing Returns and Economic Progress," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 38, pages 527-542.
    9. F. A. Lutz, 1961. "The Theory of Capital," International Economic Association Series, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-1-349-08452-4 edited by D. C. Hague, December.
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    More about this item


    Economic Growth of Open Economies; Post-Keynesian Models.;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies


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